North Carolina is safe, for the moment, from what appears to be little more than an attempt to disenfranchise people who might vote Democratic. But, as Andrew Jackson once put it, “eternal vigilance by the people is the price of liberty.”
The House fell five votes short Tuesday of the three-fifths vote needed to override Gov. Bev Perdue’s veto of a bill requiring North Carolinians to show a photo identification in order to vote. But the GOP performed a parliamentary maneuver to keep the bill alive through the remainder of the 2011-12 session.
Speaker Thom Tillis, R-Cornelius, was unhappy. “I am hopeful that North Carolinians will continue to express their support for this critical issue and that their representatives will respond appropriately,” he said after the vote.
It’s a critical issue in theory only. As many as 1 million North Carolinians may lack driver licenses. They are overwhelmingly poor and/or members of minority groups, the very people most victimized by the Republicans’ barbaric economic policies. It’s only logical that most of them would vote Democratic.
As for the problem of voter fraud, what problem? According to the N.C. Board of Elections, in 2008 there were 235 voting felonies, 30 cases of double voting, 23 cases of noncitizens voting, five cases of absentee voting fraud and 16 cases of fraudulent registration forms turned over to the district attorney. This is out of 4.2 million people voting.
Eight states will not allow anyone to vote without a photo ID, and six of them instituted that requirement after the 2010 elections. Not surprisingly, Republicans control the government in all six. Six other states want picture ID but allow some alternatives.
The most draconian law is Florida’s, which also limits early voting and puts restrictions on third-party voter registration that have put the League of Women Voters out of the voter-drive business. Cards would have to be turned in within 48 hours of being filled out or the third party could face severe penalties.